Ed Pagano of Akin Gump.
Ed Pagano of Akin Gump. (Dupont Photographers)

Former White House adviser Ed Pagano has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he said he will lobby Congress on issues such as immigration and patent reform.

At the White House, Pagano was responsible for managing the White House Senate Legislative Affairs Office. He served in the Obama administration for two years, coordinating the administration’s legislative strategy in areas that included patent and immigration reform, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and judicial nominations.

Pagano earlier worked for 18 years on Capitol Hill for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including six years as chief of staff. He advised Leahy on legislation such as the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, as well as on U.S. Supreme Court hearings and confirmations of justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Pagano described Akin Gump as “a class operation, and a very effective operation.” He will be a partner in the firm’s public law and policy practice in Washington.

“Joel Jankowsky is one of the partners here I’ve always admired from the other side, when I was up in the Capitol,” Pagano said. “I worked with him on patent reform legislation in the past few years in Congress.”

Pagano also said he got to work with Akin Gump the past year on the confirmation of Patricia Millett, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit whose nomination survived a political fight to win approval in December.

Pagano said he plans to advocate for private clients on some of the same issues he worked on at the White House, such as immigration reform, patent reform, data-breach legislation and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reform.

He does not have any restrictions to lobby Congress, but an ethics pledge means he will not lobby the administration for the rest of Obama’s time in office, he said.

Kim Koopersmith, Akin’s chairwoman, said Pagano’s experience will be an asset. “With two decades of experience in the public sector, including on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he has developed an excellent reputation throughout Washington,” Koopersmith said in a statement.

In 2012, Patton Boggs dethroned Akin as the nation’s highest-revenue lobbying shop for the first time since 2007, according to the latest Influence 50, The National Law Journal annual survey of the lobbying industry. Akin Gump had $100.1 million in government-affairs income in 2012.

Contact Todd Ruger at truger@alm.com.